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'He runs all the way through the sideline'

Why you should be excited about first-round pick Devin Bush:

He’s highly regarded: Bush, a 5-foot-11, 234-pound linebacker from Michigan, was widely considered by draft analysts as one of the top two players available at inside linebacker, a perceived position of need for the Steelers. Dane Brugler of The Athletic ranked Bush No. 1 and Devin White of LSU No. 2 at the position.

The Steelers uncharacteristically traded up to get Bush: “We thought that highly of him,” General Manager Kevin Colbert said. “I don’t want to say it was an easy trade to make, but it was easy in our minds to pick him with the 10th pick. So, we did what we had to do.”

Bush was exhaustively scouted: ”This is a unique football player and it was across the board in our evaluations,” Colbert said. “We had four personnel people, myself included. We had three coaches, Coach (Mike) Tomlin included and everybody said, ‘Wow, that’s a first-round pick.’”

He’s productive: Bush accounted for 194 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, one interception and 17 passes defensed in 39 games (32 starts) at Michigan.

He’s a three-down player: Bush has 4.43 speed in the 40-yard dash and the ability to handle pass-coverage responsibilities as well as play sideline to sideline, but he can also rush the passer.

“I don’t want to underscore his blitzing capabilities,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “I think that was as exciting to me as his coverage. I mean what I said, and I said he’s an exciting, all-situations linebacker. And to have that type of athleticism in the second level of defense I think is critical in today’s NFL.”

Inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky maintained the sideline-to-sideline characterization didn’t do Bush’s game justice.

“He runs all the way through the sideline,” Olsavsky insisted. “He's not sideline to sideline, he runs through people. He can really close when he's going to make a tackle, that's an added trait. It’s different than just speed.

“When you want to run through the guy, that's really attractive.”

He’s decorated: Bush was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, a second-team AP All-American and a team captain in 2018. He also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors twice.

He’s a leader: Michigan coaches considered Bush the “glue” of the Michigan defense according to Brugler. Tomlin said the Steelers “interviewed a lot of Michigan players through the draft process and it was unanimous in terms of who their unquestioned leader was, and that was attractive to us as well. The position that he plays is like a defensive quarterback, and I think that’s something that comes very natural to him.”

He has football bloodlines: Bush’s father, Devin Bush Sr., won a national championship as a safety at Florida State in 1993, was a first-round pick of the Falcons in 1995 (26th overall) and won Super Bowl XXXIV with the Rams.

“He’s a very cerebral football guy if you spend time with him and we spent time with him at several opportunities along the way at Indy (at the NFL Scouting Combine) and his Pro Day,” Tomlin said. “He’s a football guy, and a football guy through and through.”

Take a look at photos of Steelers first round draft pick, Devin Bush's tour around Pittsburgh

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